Names invented by Writers

Character names are important if you want your writing remembered. This is an insightful and fun blog about character names invented by authors.


Just back from a wonderful and very productive writing residency in Portugal . As I need to catch breath, unpack and get to grips with unanswered emails I thought I would give you a chance to read again (otherwise known as repeat) a list of first names invented by authors that I researched back in 2013 (when I should have been doing something else).
It is not a definitive list. There must be more names to discover. Can you add to it?

The name that most surprised me was Norma.

Norma JeanPhoto:wikipedia

Invented by Edmund Spenser for his poem ‘The Faerie Queen’

The elf princess in Tolkein’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’

Invented by Margaret Mitchell. Carreen was the younger sister of Scarlet in Gone with the Wind.

A prince in two of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books, probably named after the Caspian Sea in Russia.


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bucolic – Word of the Day

bucolic – adjective, noun


adjective (also bucolical)

1.   of or relating to shepherds; pastoral.

2.   of, relating to, or suggesting an idyllic rural life.


3.   of, relating to, or suggesting an idyllic rural life.

4.   Archaic. a farmer; shepherd; rustic.

Lissy lived on a farm in Southcentral Wisconsin. Ideally this would suit her fine as living a bucolic life is what she always wanted.She did have that with her parents living where they do until the mega factory farm moved in across the road .

Worse than the chemical infused manure stank, are the sterile, factory conditions in which the cows live.  Normal manure smell is natural as they cows get to graze on prime land grasses but these cows are given chemicals to keep them healthy and the smell emitted from their manure processing plant is raunchy at best and the smell permeates the country air for miles.

Bucolic no longer describes her rural life.

Word of the Day Challenge

Being off the grid so to say for my site for two days put me a little behind. I have three vocabulary words to use for fun to get caught up, therefore, I shall use all three words in my writing today. Should be interesting what kind of story I come up with.

scroop – verb, noun


verb (used without object)-

1.   to emit a harsh, grating sound


2.   a scrooping sound.

3.   ability to make a rustling sound added to silk or rayon fabrics during finishing by treating them with certain acids.

legerity – noun


1.   physical or mental quickness; nimbleness; agility

rubberneck – verb, noun


verb (used without object)

1.   to look about or stare with great curiosity, as by craning the neck or turning the head.

verb (used with object)

2.   to gawk at

noun, Also, rubbernecker

3.   a sightseer; tourist

4.   an extremely curious person.

My shortie:

Michael’s legerity put him on high alert when he heard the awful scroop of knives across a cheese grater.

He glanced around the crowded market square. He saw nothing worth noting and continued texting a message to his partner. Silence in the square on his part was crucial.

There it was again. Michael snapped to attention; that horrible scroop cut through the noise. It was closer now. He knew that sound. This was not a sound people were too familiar with until the tragedy that followed demanded they take note of it.

His eyes searched the crowd.

As his gaze shifted toward the east, his eyes were drawn to a woman wearing a scarf on her head, Jackie O. fashion. The woman was craning over a shorter woman’s shoulder clearly reading the phone in front of the shorter woman. The rubbernecking was blatant.

The Jackie O fashionista jerked her head up, caught, and looked right at Michael. He flinched as she stared him down. Her eyes narrowed, staying on him. Locking his gaze, she lowered her head, a bull ready to charge.

Before she could act, Michael pulled the Malaysian plane maneuver and disappeared in the sea of people.

The End

Write your story using these three vocabulary words and share them on my site. Looking forward to reading what you offer.

cynosure – Word of the Day

cynosure – noun

[sahy-nuh-shoo r, sinuh-]

1.   something that strongly attracts attention by its brilliance, interest,etc.:

       the cynosure of all eyes.
2.   something serving for guidance or direction.
The Ten Commandments were written as a cynosure for mankind.
This was my sentence using the second definition. How can you use it in your writing?


            The scariest headline I have read in a long time is this,

‘U.S. Honeybees Are Disappearing Very Quickly, USDA Report Finds’

            Why so scary you ask? Bees sting and are annoying. Yes they do and are only annoying, in my opinion, if you are trying to eat or drink something sweet outside. To quote the article on the importance, ‘Millions of honey bees are relied on to pollinate plants that produce a quarter of the food consumed by Americans.’* But the decline of the honeybees in the US keeps increasing to alarming rates.

            Is that scary to you? It should be. If the honeybees and other bees and insects that pollinate our plants for our food, then our food supply runs dangerously low and we have to rely on other countries for our food supply which will make prices skyrocket.

            The USA has prided itself on the fact that we are self-sustaining but through our limitless efforts in ridding our crops of pests and disease, we are in fact creating the biggest threat to our crops EVER! The loss of our natural pollinators.

            Our country needs to abolish the use of pesticides for our crops and lawns. Pesticides and some chemical fertilizers are the cause of the mass casualties of bees. By getting rid of the bad guys, we are also getting rid of the good guys, creating the baddest guys of all: HUMANS. We are the biggest pest and harm to our own crops.

            How can you help? Spread the word on stopping use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc. Let the dandelions grow in your yard; they create delicious food/nourishment for our bees. Pull weeds by hand that you do not want in your gardens. Fertilize naturally. Compost. Go back to the basics.

            The beekeepers are doing what they can. ‘Beekeepers travel the country with managed hives to help the process.’* We have to do our part too.

            Chemical science has become chemical warfare on our own soils. Let’s stop it while we can.


syzygy – Word of the Day

syzygy – noun


1.   Astronomy. an alignment of three celestial objects, as the sun, the earth, and either the moon or a planet

2.   Classical Prosody. a group or combination of two feet, sometimes restricted to a combination of two feet of different kinds.

3.   any two related things, either alike or opposite.

This is a great, crazy word to use in writing. Adds a unique sound. Here is my sentence:

‘No day can be more perfect for miracles to happen than when a celestial syzygy occurs.’

Can you use it in your writing?

hidebound – Word of the Day




1.   narrow and rigid in opinion; inflexible:

2.   oriented toward or confined to the past; extremely conservative

3.   (of a horse, cow, etc.) having the back and ribs bound tightly by the hide.

Trent sat straight up on his horse intent on leaving her behind as fast as he could. Tess had no right to demand that he stay to care for his child. He knew men liked her and paid her attention. He knew she liked the attention from them. That’s what those men had thought too. He felt ashamed. What he couldn’t bring himself to believe was that the boy was really his his. As soon as he checked into his hotel room, the clerk, Trudy, told him Tess had a baby.

His gut told him he needed to come back to North Ranch as quick as possible; no one asked him to. When he saw her that first night, she wouldn’t even look at him. Three days later, after being completely avoided by Tess, he decided to gather his things and head out of town with Sandy. He planned to ride her to the corral out of town where she would be sent, along with his other horse, Buck, back to his farm in Kentucky. He had had to leave Sandy behind the last time he left and he wasn’t about to do it this time.

Tess ran out of the bakery as soon as she saw him walking Sandy along the road. Her bakery was just on the outskirts of town and it was at the edge of town where riders could actually ride their horse on the horse trail along the road.

“YOU  HIDEBOUND ASS!” she had yelled, running out to him. “Trent, you are the father to my son. Jackson is your son. Get it through your thick skull. I have not been with any other men. It’s always been you,” her eyes had pleaded with him.

Trent’s nostrils flared. “I didn’t even know you had a baby until I checked into my hotel room and the clerk told me. One of the reasons I hate small towns. Why did you wait until now, when I came back and am leaving, to tell me? If he was truly mine, you would have told me that night and you would have never let me leave a year ago. I told you I loved you and wanted to marry you. Then you spent the night with me and in the morning, you were gone.”

“I know,” Tess said, her eyes cast down.

“Well, what the hell? I drove out here to the bakery figuring you just came in to work on your day off and you had a sign up in the window saying ‘Bakery to reopen May 1’. That was two months away. No sign of you at your house either. The windows had been closed tight. No word from you at all. I waited the two months for you to come back and when you did, you ignored all my calls and wouldn’t even see me. So, I took a job in Kentucky and set up home there where the horses were welcome. I sent you letters. Nothing. So you tell me how you know that innocent little boy is mine.” Trent huffed out the last word.

Tess looked up at him. Tears had pooled in her eyes. “I just know and you need to trust me.”

“Fine, then I want a DNA test.” he said.

“I won’t do that,” Tess sighed.

“Then I know you’re lying to me. Who’s the hidebound ass now?” he spewed.

Trent swung himself up onto his horse. Tess walked away, shoulders back, back straight, determined.

He watched her walk into her bakery, waited a few minutes until she walked back out carrying her son, Jackson. The boy looked to be almost a year old. He looked just like Trent, ice blue eyes, dimple in his chin, same cowlick in the front right side of his hair and a bow shaped mouth.

“I don’t understand. He looks just like me but he’s too old to be mine since that night.”

Tess took a deep breath. “I was already four months pregnant that night.”

“You didn’t look pregnant to me and you never said anything about it.” Trent retorted.

“I had just found out that day and I didn’t know how to process it. Then we met for dinner and went back to your place for movie night and things got out of hand. I figured, what the hell, I was already pregnant. Then you told me you loved me and wanted to marry me and I figured you must have known somehow and that’s why you wanted to marry me. I thought you were just in the moment. It was our first time that got me pregnant when we were trying so hard to wait until we were more serious.” she explained.

“Makes no sense why you didn’t tell me until just now.” he said.

Defeated, Tess confessed. “I didn’t tell you because  a few weeks before you and I did it the first time, two men accosted me in the parking lot outside of the grocery store. The store was closing and I had gone in for a few items that were on back order for the bakery. The lights went off in the parking lot as I got into my car. They grabbed me, covered my mouth and had their way with me even though I fought hard. When they finished, they threatened me saying that everyone in town knew I was huge flirt and no one would believe me. I was so ashamed. I didn’t tell anyone.”

Trent’s eyes closed to slits. Jackson wriggled in his momma’s arms.

“So he could actually be one of theirs?” he asked.

“No,” she said defiant.

Trent asked the obvious, “How do you know?”

“Because the night I left you at your home, I went to my sister’s house in Ann Arbor and stayed with her until Jackson was born. I called Trudy, and she told me you had left town, taking most things with you except for Sandy. I came back to town, reported the rape and the two bastards are locked up in county still. Lucky for me, the surveillance tapes caught what happened even though it was dark. I had them tested for a DNA match and neither were so I knew then Jackson was definitely yours.”

Trent got down off his horse and asked to hold the boy. Jackson reached his arms out for Trent to pick him up. Holding Jackson, Trent studied the boy’s face some more. So innocent. he was glad the boy had come into the world for a good reason and not from violence, but he was still pissed Tess hadn’t told him.

Jackson started fussing so Tess took him back, soothing him. “I know it’s a lot to process Trent. He needs to eat now and then go down for a nap. just, please, don’t go. Meet me back here tonight for dinner at 6 and we can talk then.”

Tess carried Jackson back inside the bakery. She watched him out the window, expecting to see him turn Sandy back toward town.

Trent did no such thing. He tightened up his packs on Sandy’s back, then swung himself up on her back.

Tess watched from inside, a volcano about to erupt. She strapped her baby boy into his carrier seat, keeping an eye on Trent outside. To her utter horror and shock, he started off slowly out of town. She was ready to blow. Swiftly, she Jackson and his carrier seat on the floor then flew out the bakery door.


He looked back at Tess then took off on Sandy in a cantor.

Two miles out he stopped and turned Sandy around. He realized he was old fashioned and this was not back in the cowboy days, but he had his pride. He had other things too now, didn’t he?

Trent sat straight up on his horse intent on leaving her behind as fast as he could. Tess had no right to demand that he stay to care for his child. He knew men liked her and paid her attention. He knew she liked the attention from them. That’s what those men had thought too. He felt ashamed. What he couldn’t bring himself to believe was that the boy was really his his. As soon as he checked into his hotel room, the clerk, Trudy, told him Tess had a baby.

He wasn’t even sure he loved her anymore did he? He didn’t know what to think anymore and he had to take care of things in Kentucky anyways. He could sort out his feelings there. Tess had waited this long, she could wait a while longer.

Insidious Bullying: A Lethal Combination

Bully (bullied, bullying)

[boo l-ee]

noun, plural bullies.

  1. a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgersand intimidates smaller or weaker people.
  1. Archaic. a man hired to do violence.
  1. Obsolete. a pimp; procurer.
  1. Obsolete. good friend; good fellow.
  1. Obsolete. sweetheart; darling.

verb (used with object), bullied, bullying.

  1. to act the bully toward; intimidate; domineer.

verb (used without object), bullied, bullying.

  1. to be loudly arrogant and overbearing.

Adjective (typically used by the British)

  1. Informal. fine; excellent; very good.
  1. dashing; jovial; high-spirited.

Interjection (typically used by the British)

  1. Informal. good! well done!

Read all of the definitions above. Note that definition numbers 3, 4 and 5 are obsolete. Also as I live in the USA, definition numbers 8, 9 and 10 are irrelevant for this writing piece. Let’s concentrate on definitions 1, 2, 6 and 7.

Definition 1:   a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.  This is the bully most people think of when they think of the word and who they know who fits the description. This type of person is easy to spot and sometimes avoid as you know what’s coming. Not all bullies fit this description completely. The above definition implies, loud and argumentative; not implied but just as important, are the insidious bullies.

Definition 2:   Archaic. a man hired to do violence. This certainly fits the profile but is what a bully was years ago.

Definition 6:  verb. (used with object) to act the bully toward; intimidate; domineer.  This is definitely the correct definition of the act itself and can be blatant or insidious.

Definition 7:   verb (used without object) to be loudly arrogant and overbearing.  This pertains to a person whose personality is shown with action.

All of these definitions contribute to the plague that is the bane of many students existence. What is insidious though?

Insidious –

[in-sid-ee-uh s]


  1. intended to entrap or beguile:

an insidious plan.

  1. stealthily treacherous or deceitful:

an insidious enemy.

  1. operating or proceeding in an inconspicuous or seemingly harmlessway but actually with grave effect:

an insidious disease.

Now put these two definitions together and you get a lethal combination. Both the bully and the victim of the bully are victims. Why does the bully do what he/she does? Obviously something tweeks them to behave that way and they need an understanding too. Bullying is about the victim, therefore, is about the bully as well. However, both the bully and their victim need to be treated separately to help either of them out.

Not all bullies are sociopaths, many just deal with their environmental issues by acting out through bullying.* This understanding does not change what happens to their victim though. Their victim may not be able to handle the constant battle. Over time, the incessant bullying wears them down to the point of no return in too many cases, if not while in school then soon after into early adulthood. Death can be the ultimate end of not stopped, whether it’s the death of the victim’s dreams, confidence, relationships and worse case scenario, death of the victim themselves, (which to some victims, their death is a blessing for them and their only way out.)

Insidious bullying is done through cyber bullying, spreading rumors, nasty whispers in the hall, constant, quiet put downs while victim is in ear shot, anything to break a person. This type of bully constantly shreds their victim’s feeling of self-confidence, self worth and identity of who they thought they were. The bully works their diabolical magic into the psyche of their victim to believe they, the victim are not valued in society breaking them down to the lowest form. My personal opinion is the bully gets off on it for a quick rush they need.

Insidious bullying like blatant bullying, often gets other kids in on the act, usually going along with the bully so as not to draw attention to themselves and become a victim. They too are a victim though. Many of these kids feel remorse after participating, no matter how subtle their participation is, and this takes a psychological toll on them as well.

The saddest part to insidious bullying is that is often harder for outsiders to realize what is going on and therefore being stopped. So, closer attention needs to be paid to students and with the constant staffing cuts in education, this is harder to accomplish. If the entire surrounding society pays closer attention and is proactive, then bullying may be able to be stopped. Education is key and so is awareness.

Think hard about both definitions; bully, bullying, bullied and insidious, then look around, take note and do what you can to help stop it.. Kids need help, both the bullies and their victims. This carries on into adulthood and the workplace. It needs to STOP!

These links offer good advice and more insight into this heinous crime, and it IS a crime.


Jay Asher Brings Bullying Awareness to all 50 States

The subject of bullying hits close to home for me in too many ways. I’m inspired to write this piece thanks to a fantastic e-mail I received from @PublishersWkly about Young Adult author, Jay Asher, going on tour through all 50 states with his YA book, ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’. I am so excited he is doing this. His book belongs in the health class curriculum of every health class for middle and high schools.

(Note: Jodi Piccoult’s, ‘Nineteen Minutes’ is also about bullying in schools. This too is an incredible book.)

Jay’s book, ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’, takes you to the darker place of insidious bullying. I endured both blatant and insidious bullying while I was in school (and even as an adult by an extended family member from when I was five years old until seven years ago when I finally had had enough) but I was strong enough to endure it and learn from it. Many kids are not and no kids should ever have to even endure it.

I was working in one of our local high schools in food service running a check out line when ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ came out. I saw first hand, that the bullying was getting worse and I stopped it when I could. One person is not enough though. If ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ becomes mandatory curriculum in the middle and high schools, a HUGE difference might be made.

Ripped Away

Simply put, time has always baffled Lisa. She never quite grasped that her concept of time was completely than the rest of the worlds’. Frequently throughout her life, this anomaly has triggered numerous fateful events, which to be fair, were not always her fault, just mostly.

Ransacking her apartment looking for the treasure she had forfeited had given way to loss. Loss of innocence, loss of not knowing, loss of fantasy and loss of time which usually eluded her but not now. Now, she was fully aware. What Lisa wished she had lost from this mess was her memory which naturally, was not allowed.

The combination of the booze and the prescription meds made Lisa’s mind logyHer original thought when she chased the pills with shots of Jack was that she’d sleep for hours and forget her heartache. She had not considered that her heart would refuse to allow that one luxury of sleep; that one wish that might just make the pain bearable from what she had done. Her mind was not allowed to shut down, she had to face reality in a lethargic stupor, the worst kind of punishment.

To be continued….

Fun with words, creatively. For all ages.

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